Report from Milan Furniture Fair 2016

Place: Milan, Country: Italy
Text by Federica Lusiardi
All photos © Inexhibit, 2016

Milan Furniture Fair Salone del Mobile 2016 general view Inexhibit

Report from Milan Furniture Fair – Salone del Mobile – 2016

The 2016 edition of Milan Furniture Fair, although in its usual heterogeneity, presents some common traits which raise interesting points of discussion on the present and future of design.

Many “major” Italian manufacturers, such as Kartell and Zanotta, have decided to showcase in their fair stands their “classic” production, presenting an epitome of their own history.
It looks like some protagonists of Italian design, in the year of the 21st Triennale, want to firmly assert the identity and peculiarity of that national design tradition which, since the end of World War Two, has created and distinguished the so-called “Made in Italy”.

Kartell, for example, with the exhibition Talking Minds presents those figures who have worked and still work for the Milanese company, through a presentation which highlights single designers. Alessandro Mendini, Patricia Urquiola, Fabio Novembre, Ferruccio Laviani, Philippe Starck, Tokujin Yoshioka, Alberto and Francesco Meda; a dedicated “room”, identified by a large portrait and a specific color, is dedicated to each of them; here, the designer depicts the development of one of more products he/she has created for Kartell.

Kartell pavilion Milan Furniture Fair Salone del Mobile 2016 03 Inexhibit

Kartell pavilion Milan Furniture Fair Salone del Mobile 2016 02 Inexhibit

Kartell Philippe Starck Milan Furniture Fair Salone del Mobile 2016 02 Inexhibit

Kartell Alessandro Mendini Milan Furniture Fair Salone del Mobile 2016 02 Inexhibit

Kartell pavilion: general views and the “rooms” dedicated to Philippe Starck and to Alessandro Mendini.

Similarly, in its “green” space Zanotta presents recent products, many of which by Frank Rettenbacher, side by side with its classic pieces – designed by Achille and Pier Giacomo Castiglioni, Enzo Mari, Superstudio, DePas d´Urbino Lomazzi, and Carlo Mollino, among others – together with an exceptional monobloc concrete table, conceived by Piero Bottoni in 1936.

Fenice table Piero Bottoni Zanotta Milan Furniture Fair Salone del Mobile 2016 02 Inexhibit

Fenice table Piero Bottoni Zanotta Milan Furniture Fair Salone del Mobile 2016 Inexhibit

Zanotta space, Fenice table by Piero Bottoni, 1936

Zanotta Milan Furniture Fair Salone del Mobile 2016 02 Inexhibit

Zanotta space: installation view, on the right a Quaderna table by Superstudio, 1970

Mezzadro stools Castiglioni Zanotta Milan Furniture Fair Salone del Mobile 2016 Inexhibit

Zanotta space, two Mezzadro stools by Achille e Pier Giacomo Castiglioni, 1957

Such vision by some of the leading-brands of the so-called “Italian Design” is further reinforced by the exhibition Before Design Classic – which focuses on the “archetypes”, imaginary and manufacturing tradition on which modern Italian design is based upon, and which we cover in a dedicated article.

Moreover, also international companies propose a similar approach; such as Knoll which, in a space designed by Rem Koolhaas and inspired by the Barcelona Pavilion conceived by Mies van der Rohe in 1929, exhibits new furniture designed by Piero Lissoni and Marc Krusin alongside with historical pieces by Florence Knoll, Mies Van der Rohe, Eero Saarinen and Harry Bertoia.

ThisIsKnoll_Pavillion_byOMA_inside view_LR

Knoll pavilion Rem Koolhaas OMA Milan Furniture Fair Salone del Mobile 2016 Inexhibit

The Knoll pavilion designed by OMA – Rem Koolhaas, inspired by the Barcelona Pavilion by Mies vad der Rohe

Knoll Harry Bertoia chairs Milan Furniture Fair Salone del Mobile 2016 Inexhibit

Knoll pavilion with a series of chairs including the Diamond chair by Harry Bertoia, 1952

Again, Vitra presents new designs by Jasper Morrison and Ronan & Erwan Bouroullec together with a re-edition of the coffee table designed by Charles and Ray Eames in 1949.

Vitra pavilion Milan Furniture Fair Salone del Mobile 2016 01 Inexhibit

Vitra Milan Furniture Fair Salone del Mobile 2016 01 Inexhibit

Vitra pavilion, Milan Furniture Fair 2016

Such tendency to celebrate its own historical identity, not universal yet indubitable, could be interpreted in two, different and somehow opposed, ways.

On one side, this proud demonstration of personal vision and history by companies could be a necessary “Full stop. New paragraph” on which the future of design can be founded; maybe reserving a greater attention to young designers who, as never before, are numerous and ready to bring an innovative contribution, as evident in the impressive growth of that self-managed manufacturing through which many emerging designers decide (?) to express their creativity and produce their projects.

On the other side, such self-celebration of “what we are and we have always been” can become an hindrance to innovation and to invest in alternative products and designers.

Obviously, every company has its own vision and business strategy; yet, what the general attitude towards those two opposite approaches is will be soon evident in the attention that the furniture and home accessories production system will have for new designers, innovation in forms and materials, novel behaviors and lifestyles, and for the introduction of advanced technologies, both in the manufacturing process and in the creation of “smart” objects. We will see.

MDF Tense Material table Milan Furniture Fair Salone del Mobile 2016 Inexhibit

MDF Italia space, Tense Material table by Piergiorgio Cazzaniga 

Citco Enigma table Daniel Libeskind Milan Furniture Fair Salone del Mobile 2016 Inexhibit

Citco space, Enigma table by Daniel Libeskind

Citco Valle Shelves Zaha Hadid Milan Furniture Fair Salone del Mobile 2016 Inexhibit

Citco space, Valle Shelves by Zaha Hadid Architects

Artek Milan Furniture Fair Salone del Mobile 2016 04 Inexhibit

Artek Milan Furniture Fair Salone del Mobile 2016 04-2 Inexhibit

Views of the stand of Artek designed by Kuehn Malvezzi

Missoni Milan Furniture Fair Salone del Mobile 2016 01 Inexhibit

The space of Missoni presenting the Fireworks home fabric series and the Jalamar chair.

Arper-catifa- Milan Furniture Fair Salone del Mobile 2016 Inexhibit

The space of Arper: Catifa chairs, new edition.

All photos © Inexhibit, 2016



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